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Lesson learned about audio books

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Initial post: Aug 1, 2014 11:37:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 1, 2014 11:38:47 AM PDT
loriltx says:
I have never cared much for audio books, but recently tried the whispersync when I was involved in project that was going to add a couple of hours to my drive time each day. I thought I might like the whispersync since I could stay with the same book I was actually reading. First book was a Haran Coben Myron Bolitar book. I have read several of these and find them good mysteries along with some good humor. Narrator was great. Second was Rowling's Silkworm book. Also a great book, and also a great narrator. On to the third book--a John Lescroart book (The Hunter). I have read the two previous books in this series and while the writing is pretty simplistic, I have enjoyed them, and I was enjoying this one until I got to the audio book. If I could, I would have grabbed the narrator through the speakers and throttled him. While his voice was fine when just reading the non-dialog parts, he felt it necessary to raise his voice to an annoying pitch when reading dialog by the female characters and then lowering it significantly when reading dialog by male characters. The overall effect was to make the book sound even more simplistic and stupid. Yet, when I went back to reading the book, it was fine again. I stayed up late finishing the book last night so I would not have to listen to it in the car today. I see in checking the audible website that you can listen to samples. I have certainly learned my lesson here. I will never buy the audio part of the book without checking out the sample so I can see if the narrator is going to be annoying.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2014 11:39:47 AM PDT
K. Rowley says:
There have been times when I really couldn't stand a reader's voice / accent. Made me wonder why they picked that person.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2014 11:39:50 AM PDT
T. Cannon says:
Yes, a bad narrator can certainly ruin an otherwise good book. For an audio book you are not just buying the book you are buying the narrator's performance, so I think that you are wise to try the samples.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2014 11:42:32 AM PDT
Mike says:
Also, remember the name of that narrator. You won't even need to listen to a sample if you see him narrating a future book. Who is he?

Posted on Aug 1, 2014 11:47:15 AM PDT
janice399 says:
Agree some readers grate on my nerves too. They read very well and probably can not help that their voices are annoying. When that is the case I switch to text to speech's pleasant tone when I walk or drive.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2014 11:58:00 AM PDT
loriltx says:
Eric Dawe

Posted on Aug 2, 2014 12:42:02 PM PDT
Carlyn Craig says:
The narrator makes all the difference, that's true! But just as a narrator poorly matched to the text can ruin the experience of the book, so too can an great narration elevate an otherwise mediocre book through their interpretation. Also, reactions to narration are very subjective. It is impossible to please everyone. Even Simon Vance, who is a fantastic narrator with numerous awards and accolades, get's the occasional complaint from listeners: for his narration of one of Anthony Buckeridge's delightful Jennings books (kids lit), one listener complained that he didn't have a legitimate English accent, although Vance, like Buckeridge, was born and raised in Sussex, England.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2014 1:02:54 PM PDT
B. Marks says:
I used to participate in the Audiobook Publishers Listserve. For those who don't know about listserves, they're kind of like this group done strictly through email. Anyway that one had a lot of audiobook narrators as well as publishers and librarians and audiobook listeners like me.

I listened to an English book narratied by Barbara Rosenblatt, who was an active participant in that listserve. She read it with a very convincing British accent and I assumed she was British.

Then a few weeks later I listened to her read an American book and I felt I had to comment so I posted a suggestion on the listseve that she try to make her American accent more convincing. I tried to put it as nicely as I could.

She very nicely explained that she was American and thanked me for my unintentional compliment about her how well she faked a British accent.

We live and learn. Some of us just learn more slowly than others. :)


Posted on Aug 2, 2014 1:38:20 PM PDT
Sarida says:
I'm listening to

Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World: A New History

The reader is Bernadette Dunne. She's really good, but her voice reminds me so much of Susan O'Malley who reads the Amelia Peabody books, that I keep trying to find a laughing point.

It IS easy to find favorite narrators!

I seriously suffered through:
The Whiskey Rebellion: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Frontier Rebels Who Challenged America's Newfound Sovereignty (Simon & Schuster America Collection)

It was really an interesting book and well written, but the narrator was very sing-song and it would have been easy to give up.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2014 3:07:57 PM PDT
If it was from Audible, you can contact them for a credit refund.
I also won't get a book if the narrator is annoying.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2014 3:55:59 PM PDT
Artist says:
I thought it was just me, since I am very sensitive to sound in general. I have to listen to a sample before downloading an audio book, because some narrators just grate on my nerves. Even with free audio books, I'll sample it first to see if I can stand to listen to the voice.

I have one audio book that was narrated by an actor who was pretty busy in the 70s and 80s, mostly playing gangsters. I thought it would be okay, since I knew his voice, but after about 5 minutes, it drove me crazy. I realized that he had never had large chunks of dialog in any of his film work, so I didn't realize that his voice was really grating.

The narrator for Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, when doing female dialog, would raise his voice and make them kind of breathy, which was a bit irritating, but the rest of the time he was excellent, so I could overlook those parts.

Posted on Aug 2, 2014 5:48:49 PM PDT
Mary McManus says:
My favorite narrators in no particular order are:
Simon Prebble
Will Patton
Lisette Lecat
Davina Porter
Stephen Thorne

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2014 9:19:39 PM PDT
flipoid says:
Laura Linney did an awesome job with the first seven original Nancy Drew books. A different publisher did 8-12, and the narrator for those is not anywhere near as good.

Stephen Fry did the British version of the Harry Potter books, and he's phenomenal. Each book of the Chronicles of Narnia was narrated by a different person (Michael York, Vanessa Redgrave, Patrick Stewart among them), and they were all really good.

Bill Irwin narrated the first seven Hardy Boys books, and James Langton the Prydain Chronicles. I'd never heard of either one of these men before listening to the audio books they narrated, but they did terrific jobs.

Posted on Aug 3, 2014 8:28:38 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 3, 2014 8:36:05 AM PDT
lonbeehold says:
City of Thieves: A Novel was narrated by Ron Perlman-most recently on Sons of Anarchy, but some of you may remember him from the TV series Beauty and The Beast with Linda Hamilton-and he was wonderful. I did not care for the narrator of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, especially the way he did the female characters. The narrators of Keith Richards Life were excellent-they included Johnny Depp and a bit from Richards himself. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics has an excellent narrator-he makes the races sound very exciting and even though you know the end, it was suspenseful to listen to. Meryl Streep was wonderful reading The Testament of Mary: A Novel. I have also listened to David Rakoff and Malcolm Gladwell narrate their own books and enjoyed listening to both. That is the sum total of my audiobook experience :) I completely agree that the narrator can make or break the experience. I had mixed feelings about audio books but am glad I gave them a try. I joined Audible and will be listening to more this year.
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  13
Total posts:  14
Initial post:  Aug 1, 2014
Latest post:  Aug 3, 2014

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